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Swansea scientists track jellyfish with GPS

Credit: Gower Coast Adventures

Two Swansea University academics have been tracking jellyfish with GPS equipment.

They are trying to explain how the creatures are able to form blooms including hundreds to millions of individuals for periods up to several months.

Biosciences Professor Graeme Hays says jellyfish might look like mere drifters, but some of them have a remarkable ability to detect the direction of ocean currents and to swim strongly against them.

Detecting ocean currents without fixed visual reference points is thought to be close to impossible and is not seen, for example, in lots of migrating vertebrates including birds and turtles.

– Professor Graeme Hays, Swansea University

Professor Hays along with his Swansea University colleague Dr Sabrina Fossette tracked the movements of the jellyfish with GPS loggers and used GPS-tracked floats to record the current flows. They also directly observed the swimming direction of large numbers of jellyfish at the surface of the ocean.

They say understanding the distribution of jellyfish in the open ocean may be practically useful for predicting and avoiding troublesome jellyfish blooms, especially if it turns out that the findings in barrel-jellyfish apply to other species.

While jellyfish do play an important role in ocean ecosystems as prey for leatherback sea turtles and other animals they can also clog fishing nets and sting beachgoers.


Blue plaque for Swansea scientist

Sir William Grove died in 1896

A Swansea scientist who invented the fuel cell will today be honoured when a blue plaque is unveiled in his home city.

The fuel cell, which converts chemical energy into electrical energy, powers much modern day equipment. Nasa uses them for satellites and spacecraft.

Grove, a founder of the Swansea Literary and Philosophical Society, was born in Swansea in 1811. A graduate of Oxford University, he also became a QC in 1853 and was knighted in 1872.

The plaque will be placed outside divisional police headquarters on Grove Place - the spot where Grove lived in a house called The Laurels during his time in Swansea.

Sir William was an intellectual heavyweight who maintained close links with Swansea right up until his death. We're rightly proud to call him one of our city's most accomplished sons.

– Cllr Francis-Davies, Cabinet Member for Enterprise, Development and Regeneration

'Dramatic' comeback for rare butterfly

Credit: Andy Seeley

Conservationists say one of Wales’ rarest butterflies is making a comeback in Carmarthenshire.

The wildlife charity, Butterfly Conservation, says it's been working to stabilise numbers of the internationally threatened Marsh Fritillary by increasing and improving habitat areas.

The work has paid off with experts reporting a dramatic increase in numbers in Carmarthenshire.

Since the mid 2000’s the Marsh Fritillary has struggled here. But site conservation work by ourselves and partner organisations, combined with improved weather during the butterfly’s flight period, has meant numbers are stabilising and on some sites we have seen a spectacular recovery.

– Russel Hobson, Head of Butterfly Conservation Wales

The International Space Station or Santa's sleigh? How to spot it in Wales

The International Space Station is due to pass over the UK on Christmas Eve, giving children a great opportunity to spot 'Santa's sleigh'.

The station will be visible at 5.22pm across the UK, but for varying lengths of time and at slightly differing angles.

The further north you are, the closer to the horizon it will be.

The International Space Station Credit: PA

Here is a guide on how long you will be able to see the ISS and where you can spot it in the sky (90 degrees is directly above you).

  • Aberystwyth: 4 minutes, at 46 degrees, 36 above WSW
  • Cardiff: 4 minutes, at 53 degrees, 32 above W
  • Denbigh: 4 minutes, at 39° degrees, 32 above WSW
  • Holyhead: 3 minutes, at 40 degrees, 37 above SW
  • Llandudno: 3 minutes, at 38 degrees, 36 above SW
  • Swansea: 4 minutes, at 53 degrees, 32 above W
  • Wrexham: 4 minutes, at 39 degrees, 33 above WSW
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